Sunday, March 29, 2009


Lately I have often been thinking back to the Newspaper place I worked for In Amsterdam. Especially I wondered about a man in the lay-out and arts department who I worked with, and who often would tell me a story or give me advice about certain works of art. I was just sort of an office girl with artistic ambitions. His name was Nico van Schaffelaar.

Without hope I decided to use the new technology and Google his name as an artist and musician in Amsterdam. I was shocked to see his name come up in connection with the Newspaper we worked for and several union magazines that were printed in our building, he being mentioned as the graphic artist of many magazine covers, vacation flyers, and even music magazines, and post cards.

Now that newspaper building doesn't exist anymore. I knew that. Most of Nico's work mentioned is from the sixties. I managed to find a page with some of his art work and a small photo. Oh my God, I did recognize him. I felt excited. then I wondered if there wouldn't be a way to contact him. Then I looked at the little photo and read what it said underneath: "Nico van Schaffelaar, 1923-1969." Oh no, he died!!! I forgot that he was way in his thirties while I was still only 18. What a bummer! I'd need a medium to contact him. Create another ghost story for Marianne. Anyhow, I printed the pages with the tiny photo and the small images of his art work to keep. Maybe, I can enlarge them a bit and use them for another page in my memory scrap book.


The following is a piece of writing that I had for a while and intended to post here, because it links with the phone part of the previous post. I only thought of it now because I wanted to do another post. Please excuse me if I left spelling errors, I'm too tired to check right now.

Often that's a day dreaded. I've heard nurses and caretakers sigh about how full moon affects patients and even ordinary people. It seems to bring out weird behaviour.
I know as a fact that full moon affects myself, and people around me. When I was fighting with my partner who had M.S., he being testy and unreasonable, I in tears, it never failed when I went for a walk, and looked up, Full Moon was grinning at me.
Often my daughter used to phone me with what seemed like a total nervous breakdown, sobbing in my ear about irrational circumstances. At some point I would interrupt, “you know it is full moon, don't you?” She'd be quiet for a while, and then would start to laugh, knowing well the phenomena.
It seldom happens to me, but whenever I have a sleepless night, my body all tense and uncomfortable, my eyes wide open throughout the night, it always turns out to be full moon.
Now yesterday was full moon and something weird did happened to me. The day was laid out before me without commitments, without plans. I tried to get creative. No go. My imaginative artery was closed for the day. So I decided to be practical. Time to get my taxes done. I do not do that myself, I pay to have it done. That may seem silly since my tax return is a dead simple one. But I would cost myself more than the price of professional help, simply by making mistakes, not knowing all the loopholes. So, I crept out of my grubby stay at home clothes and made myself presentable. The Liberty Tax office is down town. I would need bus tickets. I only had one and figured I'd need another one for the return trip I also had to go to the bank to pay a bill and avoid a late charge.
My first stop was at the bank. I went in and couldn't believe my eyes. There were no customers waiting, only eagerly waiting tellers to help me. I was in and out in no time. That is weird.
My second stop was at the tobacco/lottery station at the same plaza to buy bus tickets. I walked in and my eyes were in for another surprise. No other customers in a place that always has long line ups. In no time the slip of tickets in my pocket, I was at the bus depot. Weird.
I hadn't checked the bus schedules and expected to probably just have missed the bus, and be in for a at least 15 minute wait. Ha, minutes from my arrival at the stop the bus drove up. I could go in, away from that nasty, icy, blowing wind, and settle in a cozy corner. Maybe not weird, but surely unusual.
From the downtown transportation center I walked the short distance to King Street and the tax place. Customers are taken in at a first come first attended to basis, you put your name on the list and are called up in order. I had truly expected, going by past experiences, to have at least an hour wait But believe it or not, I was called in within ten minutes. My taxes were electronically entered into cyber space. I got to choose between instant rebate or wait. I could wait and save the money for that extra service. It was done. I looked at the clock and discovered that my transfer for the bus hadn't even expired yet. I booted it to the stop, and the bus was waiting for me, instead of me having to wait for the bus. Weird was definitely taking on a different meaning.
Coming home I found a telephone bill in my mailbox. I opened it and checked if I had received my refund. At the beginning of the year I switched from rental phone to my own. Bell was informed about it the same day. On the next bill I was still charged for rental. I went through an endless phone messages system to get it corrected. Took me about an hour. But then I was told to pay the bill as is and
a refund would be on the next one. Well there was no refund on my full moon day bill but again an other rental charge. Grrr., but I kept my cool and dialed Bell.
Here comes weird again Instead of getting a machine, a real live voice answered. And the person that voice belonged to actually knew what she was doing. She listened, took notes, and said, “That's not right.” She had me wait a few minutes, came back on the phone, apologized for the inconvenience, had me cross out the amount to pay on the bill, and enter the amount less three month rental. All taken care of.
I still had to do a bit of shopping. I went to that huge Real Canadian Superstore across the street from me, and picked up my items. It was later in the evening and when I went to the self check outs, they were closed at that side, I'd have to walk all the way back to the other end again. I had forgotten to pick up a bottle of litchy drink, my favourite. I was thirsty. But also tired. I did not want to go back in. I chose the nearest cashier, and had her check me out. By the tiller sat a bottle of litchy drink. “Can I have that?” I asked. Sure enough I could have it, someone had not wanted it and left it behind. What are the chances?
If I had to do with full moon behaviour that day, it certainly was to my advantage. I saved money. Bell refund coming up. Big tax refund on its way. Saved myself a late charge. Saved a bus ticket. Saved time, and it is said that time is money. Didn't get ruffled, maintained my good mood throughout the day, and slept soundly all night, the full moon smiling at me through my bedroom window.